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Uncle Iroh is one of the most beloved characters from Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. Although he’s imprisoned during the penultimate season, he plays a crucial role in defeating the Fire Nation in the last. Like many other important characters, however, his ultimate fate is left somewhat mysterious.
Before we talk about Iroh’s fate, though, let’s take a closer look at his character. Some of the things that made Iroh a fan-favorite include his generally happy demeanor, his inexhaustible wisdom, and his unconditional kindness to friend, foe and stranger. But there are other, less subtle qualities that make Iroh such an appealing figure, and they have to do with his role in the story world.
Not only do we feel an affinity for Iroh because he willingly accompanies his nephew, Zuko, on his mission to catch the Avatar, but he also conquers a spot in our hearts for being one of the few redeeming Fire Nation citizens. The older brother of the genocidal Ozai, and the uncle of the megalomaniacal Azula, Iroh represents the good side of this horrible family, a side which he tries his best to pass on to Zuko.
Anyway, back to the question at hand: whatever happened to Iroh? Well, in the final episodes, before he and his old friends from the Order of the Lotus reconquer the Earth Kingdom, he tells Team Avatar that he has but one plan of action following the war: to take back his tea shop and spend the rest of his life playing board games.
Whether this is how he does indeed spend his final days, Avatar: The Last Airbender does not tell us. The last time we see him is at the gang’s safe house, where Iroh plays the iconic Tsungi Horn for Appa as the rest of the team poses for Sokka’s drawing. Charming as this final moment is, it’s not the last we see of him, though. In The Legend of Korra, he actually returns in the spirit world, where he mentors Aang’s reincarnation. However, during these scenes, he reveals little to nothing about himself.